Saturday, February 18, 2012

Your giant stroller is ruining my life.

     Last week, I stopped at a coffee shop on the way home from the park.  I've got Lucien in a stroller, a cup of coffee in one hand and a bag of groceries in the other.  A little challenging- but no big woop, I'm used to it.  As I'm approaching the front door to leave the shop, I see a man exiting and think, phew,  I won't have to do the whole turn around and exit backwards so my butt can open the door thing that I have to do when I've got my hands full with coffee, baby, and groceries.
     We make eye contact.  I smile, and assume an unspoken agreement has been made.  I am wrong.  He lets himself out- and lets the door slam on myself, my stroller, my baby and my groceries.  As he's jaunting out, both hands free- not a care in the world-  he gives me a little smirk, as if to say F you, F your groceries,  F your stroller and F your baby.
    This guy is a jerk, and I kinda want to punch him in the face.  But I understand where he's coming from, oddly enough. I have a hypothesis about this guy, that I'll explain later.  For the sake of storytelling- we'll call him Jeff.
     We live in the same neighborhood, Jeff and I, and we share space with a new breed of parents that are sweeping the land.  I like to call them the I Don't Give a Shit, Move squad.  I also like to call them the I Leave My House With Everything I Would Possibly Need to Care For This Baby For Three Weeks in Case Armageddon Happens on the Way Home From the Park group.  To make it a little easier for you to follow along, in this post I will refer to them as Jerks.  
    Just to recap: oblivious Brooklyn parents=  Jerks.  Not very nice dude that slammed the door in my face at the coffee shop= Jeff.

     I have this $20 crap umbrella stroller that I use when I know that I am bringing Lucien somewhere crowded.  It handles like shit, and I'm pretty sure he's uncomfortable in it.  But I can actually maneuver it around a store or restaurant without everyone in the place having to clear a path for me.  It also folds up to the size of an umbrella, hence the name.  That is important, as I do not like to be an inconsiderate freak on a regular basis.  These Jerks don't care about who they inconvenience with their little baby Hummers.  They breeze into a restaurant on a Saturday brunch, already overflowing with hungry Brooklynites,  and expect that there will be a table for them to roll right up to.  That's right- they have no intention of breaking this behemoth down, because their child is snoozing comfortably in it.  Heck, a grown man could snooze comfortably in one of these things.

Why so big?  Why?

   So they roll in, probably over the toes of a few unsuspecting brunchers, knocking bags off the backs of seats,  and elbowing Jeff in the head.  They are too busy making sure no one gets butter on their $1000 stroller to notice that they have elbowed Jeff in the head.   Then they park their stroller next to Jeff, and the handle is so long, it's basically up his nose through his whole meal.  This makes Jeff irate.    This makes Jeff think, Jesus parents are so self absorbed.  And what is with that giant stroller?  Ugh, I hate them.
   As if it wasn't enough to have the handle of one of those huge things in his face during his entire dining experience- he exits the restaurant,  onto a narrow sidewalk, and get stuck behind another one.  Have you ever been to Midtown, during rush hour in a rainstorm?  Have you ever encountered the one, short businessman who carries a golf umbrella in midtown, during rush hour, in a rainstorm- basically rendering the sidewalk uninhabitable?  A giant stroller in Brooklyn is the equivalent of a golf umbrella in Midtown- it gets the job done, but it's unnecessarily huge- and everyone thinks you're an asshole for using it.  Especially Jeff, who has been inconvenienced twice already- and it's not even noon yet.
     Jeff finally manages to get around the Jerks, and decides he'll stop at his favorite coffee shop on the way home, since he wasn't comfortable enough to enjoy a cup of coffee after breakfast.  Enter unsuspecting, broke mom, considerately maneuvering her tiny, cheap stroller around the patrons-  otherwise known as, me.  Jeff sees me, and doesn't see a tiny stroller, or a smiling, considerate mother.  He sees a behemoth stroller (even though its not) and an inconsiderate parent (even though I'm not).  And Jeff waits and extra minute, just so he can get the satisfaction of slamming the door in my face- thus vindicating his shitty morning.
     Yes, thanks to the Jerks- I'm being profiled-  by Jeff and every other person in town.  You have a baby- you're a jerk.  That's all there is to it.  So no one holds the door open for me, no one steps aside in the street, no one offers any of the niceties you might offer a burnt out mom with her hands full.  And I'm fed up with it.
     Listen Jerks, be mindful of your giant stroller.  Yes, you had a baby- and that is great, and a big deal to you.  But no one else really cares- and definitely doesn't feel like rolling out the red carpet for you everywhere you go.  Stop acting like you are entitled to more space- it's Brooklyn, there is no space.   And another thing- I know you live right around the corner, so you really don't need to bring a carry on-sized diaper bag with you wherever you go.  You don't need to be armed with 20 diapers, snacks, place mats, baby silverware, and every other god damned thing you can think of to entertain your baby for the hour you will be away from your house.  That is just ridiculous.
   It may seem hypocritical that I am asking these parents to act better, so the general public will start doing more for me.  But I'm not asking for anything more than common courtesy.  I hold the door open for people with their hands full- whether they are filled with baby or boxes.  And Jeff would have held the door open for me that morning, had the Jerks not already pissed all over his personal space.
     It's not rocket science.  Let's be more considerate, Jerks.

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55 comments:

  1. New to your blog... love it. I am one of the Jerks with the giant stroller. I kick myself every day for registering for it. Once my tot is old enough to move up to umbrella, or I can manage to sell those cloth diapers I was overly confident about pre-baby, I will buy a newer, smaller, lighter weight stroller, that won't run over people's toes, or take down Christmas displays at the mall.

    That being said, I acknowledge my stroller is obnoxiously large and I give passerbys that I'm so sorry face, and yet 50% of people will walk right by as I struggle to open a door. Hey, some of us have to propagate the species right?

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    1. "Hey, some of us have to propagate the species right?"

      No.

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  2. Ha- totally. I got rid of half the stuff we registered for. We have this giant, expensive crib that he hates- he prefers to sleep in his $60 pack and play. Of course.

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  3. "baby Hummers" I love it! Great blog Maria. Couldn't agree more! I can't wait for you to go to Disneyland, though I have a hard time picturing you there. The obnoxious strollers taking out your achillis will put you over the edge! Love you & thanks for the Saturday morning giggle.

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  4. Nice one Maria! I'll post on my FB. Love reading about you and your little one! It's been a long time!

    Truth be told, we rarely used a stroller at all with either of our kids, but then, we have cars and lived in MN and now back in CA so to say life's a bit different here than in Brooklyn would be a slight understatement. But either place, the moms (and dads) who need the extra luggage and the multiple snacks and the full meal and the 3 changes of clothes and the toys and the.....oh gawd.

    I remember when a mutual friend of ours, who I hadn't seen since his 1 1/2 yr old son was born, pulled up to brunch in a Chevy Suburban with the entire back of the thing packed with toys and swings and activity centers and god knows what for a road trip. I recall saying, "Wow. A Suburban. That thing is huge." He said, "I know, the Chevy Tahoe was just too small for us now that we have the kid."

    Jerk.

    (I can say that because I love the guy of course).

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  5. Hee hee....good one! We always carried Emi when in a crowd or brought the $19 umbrella stroller. I managed a popular brunch spot in Palo Alto and it was a nightmare every weekend with the giant goddamn strollers. I just did not get why you would bring one of those into a crowded dining room.
    me: "Here is your table. We set up a highchair for you. Could I fold your stroller up and store it in back for you?"
    jerks: "Ummmm...no. We'll pull it up to the table."
    me:"Oh, I'm so sorry. There really is not space for it between the tables. It will be safe in the back." (it's your stroller, not the baby, I'm taking!)
    jerks: "Just push THAT table over, then there will be room, or we can leave it here! (points to aisle where servers are already piling up trying to get around the baby hummer)"
    me: what I wished I could say, "Ummm, then THAT table will be sitting an inch from THAT table where Jeff is sitting, which is weird, you entitled PA a-hole. And NO, the AISLE is not a good place. Hold your baby in your lap, use the highchair, or stay home!!!!! I've got 150 other people I'm trying to seat!!!" What I said: "I'm SO SORRY (saccharine smile). Would you like to wait for another table or should I take that stroller for you?"
    jerks: "Fine. You must not have kids, or you would understand. Let me show you how to fold it."
    voice in my head: "sure, yeah, uh huh, my kid is at home missing me so I can serve your clueless ass some brunch." me aloud as I expertly snap the stroller shut: "Enjoy your brunch :) :) :)!!"

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    1. It's insane how they've convinced themselves their stroller will fit anywhere-- I had a woman try to convince me that her stroller would fit down the aisle and then in the overhead bin of a regional jet! Umm, no, I'm sorry but they won't!

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    2. Oh my God. It seems we're in the same hell- just on the opposite side of the country ;)

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  6. You are all entitled interlopers having a debate about your entitlement. You must have LOADS of time and luxury to be having this conversation. A lot of good it does for those of us who you have displaced from our home. Thanks so much :)

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    1. Everyone that has commented so far is in a different state- but somehow we've all managed to displace YOU. I'm a native New Yorker, and have lived in Brooklyn for over a decade. I work here, live here and conceived and gave birth to a child here. If you consider me an "interloper"- you can bite me.

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    2. And you're on a blog posting anonymous and being rude. Are you 12? Sure do sound immature.

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    3. I can't even begin to imagine having enough time or luxury to accuse other people of having too much time or luxury for having a discussion that I wasn't specifically asked to participate in. That's some impressively meta self-incrimination.

      And furthermore, if discussing the process, technique and application of raising children, literally the propagation of our species, is considered a luxury, then what the hell isn't? Reproduction is literally the most fundamentally important aspect of humanity. I'm trying to think of trivial topics that one might consider more important than discussing the rearing of our children, but I honestly can't come up with a single example that's any more absurd than the notion that discussing motherhood is a luxury.

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    4. Much Like Maria I am a native New Yorker. Grew up in Far Rock, and I've lived in every borough but Staten Island (and who counts Staten Island amirite?!!).

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  7. My goddaughter had a mid-sized stroller-- juuuust bigger than an umbrella stroller, a little sturdier, but not really all that intrusive. I'm probably about to sound like a jerk, too, but one of the great things about living in the South is that people will still open the door for you even if they're silently judging you. The only people who ever gave me grief about it were people with very distinctively NJ accents...

    I did, however, refuse to take her and her brother out in that huge sit and stroll contraption her mother thought was brilliant-- it had a seat for her brother and a place to put her baby carrier and was insanely huge. No way, Jose!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. "NJ Accent"

      Just wait until your state is overcrowded too. Then you'll see people's true attitude toward those inconsiderate of others around them.

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    3. Well, I live in Atlanta, which is pretty crowded and I would probably move if it got overcrowded. I'm not trying to be rude, it's just my personal experience. I do my best to avoid crowded places in general, especially with the stroller!

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    4. Please don't feed the anonymous trolls people, lol. This douche came here to harass people because they are pathetic and cowardly.

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  8. This is so true. We have a jogging stroller that you can have the wheel swivel or lock this way you can use it wherever. It's fine jogging with, and it's really nice when you go to the park on different terrains, but in the store it's really annoying, and I'm sure people hate my huge stroller taking up the whole aisle. So I got a cheap-o umbrella stroller from walmart, except I hate that thing because the wheels don't swivel like they're supposed to so you end up fighting with it. But I don't want to bring the other stroller so I just made due. Then I got another stroller from the thrift store that's kind of bigger than an umbrella stroller, looks like the ones from a travel system but it's smaller than that. Perfect. I got it just for the plane so if they broke it it was only $18, but I think I'm going to start using it in stores maybe because it leans back too. And it has a basket on the bottom and a tray. Of course I had to clean it up and oil it, but after that was done it was nice.

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  9. I FEEL BAD NOW! sometimes im that annoying person with the huge stroller going to eat...and i always try to get put somewhere out of the way. but luckily now she is big enough to use a high chair now! and this story also made me realize, i do the same with over doing to items in the diaper bag, and im the one who thinks i need to take it all just incase, because i never know how long i will actually be gone and need to be prepared just incase. but i blame this on my mother! lol shes the one who always tells me, "you never know what might happen! you want it all just incase!!"

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  10. I completely agree with this post, except for one part...don't pick on the guy with the golf umbrella! He (I) just happen to have enough common sense that when purchasing a device with which to keep one dry, he actually purchases a device that keeps him dry! The $5 umbrella at the subway entrance only gives one the illusion of dryness, but doesn't do shit, what's the point?

    I would like to point out though, that the smart people with the huge umbrellas should bear the burden of raising or lowering their de-moisture canopies in accordance with the flow of pedestrian traffic and any oncoming umbrella bogies competing for air space (I always do). If not, they're also Jeffs.

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  11. I cannot leave your blog!! So refreshingly funny and truthful!! Love it. :D

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  12. this is awesome, funny, and true.. and I'm a Jerk with a Bob stroller- and a toddler on a bicycle- and I'm a Jerk who wonders every single day what the fuck is stuffed up people's asses so far that they can't step aside for this little muffin on her pink cruiser or smile at my baby who is waving away smiling, yelling, "hi"- they may be babies now and an inconvienience to the Jeffs of the world-- but soon enough those little muffins and cute babies will be ruling the world- and they have a right to be in public too (though I agree as adults we don't bring our lazyboys to dinner in a cafe so babies shouldn't either). They're cute... crack a smile at least.

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    1. I just found this blog, and I've been reading all the way back, because it's awesome. So, I really wanted to like this post.

      But, I find it hard to understand how a post that started off with an asshole ignoring a common courtesy, ended up berating parents for causing 'Jeff' to act like that. Surely Jeff was being a jerk because, well, he's a jerk?

      Yes, some parents are unbearably inconsiderate and self-absorbed - just like plenty of non-parents are. That in no way excuses people treating all parents like shit.

      I find that some busy and important-looking guys in suits are real jerks, but I have never slammed a door in such a person's face and then smirked at them. Some bus drivers are deliberately offensive and unhelpful, but I don't let that goad me into being impolite towards all bus drivers. Because many guys in suits, and many bus drivers, are really nice people, and deserve to be treated with respect. And even if they *are* horrible rude people, being rude right back is totally unnecessary. It seems to me like you're singling out parents for just acting like everyone else.

      Many people seem to be weirdly hostile towards parents - particularly women - with babies. Is it really a good approach to say 'well, if we would all just behave better, then people wouldn't be so mean!' Do you really believe that? Wouldn't it be more effective if people started saying to the Jeff's of the world: 'You refused to hold the door open for a person with a baby? What the hell is wrong with you!?'

      And sure, when you notice someone barging people out of the way with their enormous stroller, then tell them that they're jerks, too.

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    2. Maria isn't saying that the guy wasn't a jerk, she is just saying she can sort of empathize with him. Personally I don't think anyone is obligated to hold a door open for me, baby or no (though I know that isn't what you're saying either). I think it's pretty shitty that a guy would blame every parent for a few rude people's behaviors, but once you've had your toes literally broken by a 10,000lb bugaboo stroller at Prospect Park you lose all sorts of sympathy. That happened to me last year and even though the woman had obviously been in the wrong she screamed at me because she thought my foot has damaged her stroller.

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  13. I'm obviously way late to this, but you just reposted the link so it's technically your fault...Jeff.

    Anyway, I loved this and I will never have children or strollers. While I always sympathize with moms pushing strollers with a litter of kids and try to hold open doors, I have to admit that a)I don't live in NYC and b)I try and avoid places with children, so it's not much of a problem ;) However, grocery store aisles and Farmer's Markets are not made for mammoth strollers stalled and parked at odd angles. Get in the way of me and my groceries, and woman...I'll become a Jeff.

    Great post. Fun read ;)

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  14. I am a native New Yorker and I never understood why other New Yorker parents would buy those gigantic hummer sized stroller. They don't make anyone's life easier, not the parents, not the people around them. They are difficult to haul on the subway, impossible to take on a bus and hard to steer.

    My friend's new wife insisted on an $800 Bugaboo stroller that she couldn't take anywhere because she wanted to fit in with the Park Slope mommy brigade, and I thought it was so impractical. That shiz wouldn't fly in my old neighborhood in Queens (soon to be my present neighborhood once again, squee!).

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    1. They buy them because they have doormen and elevators and don't give a shit how much space they take up everywhere else.

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  15. Yow! There are a lot of opinions on this topic. Well done!!

    Loving your blog.
    In from SITS.

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  16. OH GOD, I am one of those moms who still uses the stroller from when he was a baby, but ONLY on trips when I know we need to carry around bags or he needs a nap. I would never bring the stroller into a small store or restaurant unless it was absolutely necessary. I can't stand the moms who act like they are royaltly with their strollers. I also can't stand when people don't open doors OR say thank you.

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  17. Oh my goodness! I had a big bulky stroller when my 1st was born and then got rid of it because hey, by the time we have another one we'll have enough money to buy a nice one, Right? Wrong. So then when baby number 2 came along I started championing for a double jogging stroller. Never mind the fact that a regular sized stroller barely fits through most doors. We looked and looked. We never did get one. I laughed yesterday thinking about it.

    Visiting from SITS! =)

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  18. Wow. Who knew that strollers could cause such a firestorm! I live in Washington, DC, and I feel the pain of the giant strollers too. I was one of those "take the entire nursery" moms at first, but now I try to take as little as possible with me when we take our boys out. I'm amazed at the stuff I see other parents carting around, and at how oblivious people can be when I'm trying to wrangle two toddlers, a stroller and diaper bag through a revolving door.

    Stopping by from SITS.

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  19. I'm laughing and maybe for the first and last time thanking The Jesus that we live in Cowfields, TN where space and door slamming isn't totally a thing. The "Jerks" however? They really are universal. They just wear overalls and let their toddlers run around Cracker Barrel unattended, drinking Mountain Dew and terrorizing the general population. Awesome post, and may your next encounter with a Jeff or a Jerk be a more pleasant one!

    Happy SITS Day,
    Tori@theramblings

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  20. Happy SITS Day!

    I have a theory that the reason for the minivan's existance is just to lug the ginormous stroller around. (I live in KS so we have lots of wide open spaces but the majority of those are clogged with giant strollers and road-rage-filled, overly caffienated soccor moms driving big ass SUVs with a cell phone strapped to their heads.)

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  21. Hahahaha well! This is why I need an umbrella stroller.

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  22. Definitely a cute blog. I remember bringing the diaper bag filled with everything because babies are so unpredictible and new moms are anxious. I never had a hummer stroller, just an umbrella stroller. I've never looked at the strollers from the Jeff point of view, but I believe the world is less civil and not just to parents. Happy SITS day.

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  23. Amen! I find this same issue in Portland...people gave me the stink eye anytime I had my kiddo in her umbrella stroller (high five!) anywhere near them. It was rare to have the door held, etc. I'm considerate of other people, but the giant strollers and hipster parents piss me off.

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  24. HAHAHA! We got a giant stroller as a gift. Husband returned it. I broke down to THREE parts. He was all like...yeah, right because you will totally break this down with a baby and two other kids plus groceries and what ever else you bring home! He was right...I would strap her in a carry her on me because a 300 pound stroller would likely kill me.

    And my diaper bag? It holds 5 diapers, a travel thing of wipes and it opens into a changing pad. TA DA!

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  25. You are a funny lady! And I have this POS stroller that I was cursing out in an airport this summer for not turning and tipping over and basically just being horrible and I was determined to trash it as soon as I got home and get a super duper SAHM from the burbs stroller and I just never got around to it. But now I think........I should just be happy with the "takes all of my human strength to turn it" stroller. Thanks for the perspective!

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  26. Honestly if I didn't have to walk up 3 flights of stairs with it, I would probably have a bigger one!

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  27. With my first I had a fairly small stroller, and didn't use it very often. When Baby #2 came along - when Baby #1 was 14 months old and the hubster was deployed - I had to break down and get one of those gigantic double strollers. It was a lifesaver for trips to the park, zoo, botanical garden, etc., but I'd never try to take that thing into the mall or restaurants.

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  28. I would never dream of taking my behemoth anywhere but the park or for my walks. I already feel like I travel in a herd, so I don't need to add the tractor to the mix! :)

    Enjoy your SITS day! :)

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  29. 3 things:
    1) Glad my stroller days are gone (youngest is 4)
    2) Glad I live in an uncrowded area where it pretty much never mattered if I or anyone else had a behemoth stroller (Alabama)
    3) Happy SITS day (you cracked me up)!

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  30. Love this post! Although I do have an enormous stroller (I have twins) I totally understand!

    Love your blog. Found you via SITS and am so looking forward to following you.
    Hope you'll pop by my blog.

    Kerrie
    http://familyfoodtravel.blogspot.ca

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  31. Happy SITS Day, glad that time has come and gone for me!

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  32. I love your spunk! You write well! Great post about people who think that just becasue they have a kid they have a right to inconvenience others. I get that it is difficult to raise a child, but you are correct. It makes other good mothers and fathers get profiled as inconsiderate parents. Those jerks!

    Happy SITS day (one day late!)
    -Simone
    busyasahoneybee.blogspot.com

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  33. I am old and middle aged and my daughters are 20 and 22, but I LOVED my umbrella stroller!! I could take it anywhere and it even fit up an airplane aisle!!! My daughters never said they were uncomfortable in it to I hope your son isn't. And feel free to flip off the jerks, just do it behind your son's back so he doesn't pick up a bad habit! LOL!

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  34. So funny, love your sense of humor! Somedays I'm a jerk eith the baby hummer and some days I pull out the cheapie Walmart umbrella creation...truth br told little D likes the cheapie best!

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  35. Now, I know why I got swarmed by people when I had my baby in his wrap or sling. "What is that thing? Where can I get one of those? Do you teach classes?"

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